Skip to main content

Dogma matters, but...

What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other. (Romans 14:8)

Okay, so I know the original translation of this passage doesn't tell us to eat prime rib and broccoli, but it is there to make a point. We are to stand by our commitments - our beliefs, values, and even our dogma - but we are not to look down on others because of theirs. If their dogma, beliefs, or values are not according to scripture - we are to hold them up in prayer, not argue with them. Way too many arguments have ensued in the past couple of years over things like which political party is the 'best' or 'right one', but in truth, there is but one ruler over all mankind and that is Christ Jesus. God turns the head of the king where he wills, not the other way around. We argue over which type of song to sing in church, all the while forgetting we could just do two 'kinds' of worship services - one more traditional and one more 'modern'. The silliness of arguing over some of the things we take issue with is just sheer folly - proving that mankind can get pretty wigged out over the stuff God doesn't really take issue with in the first place.

The important part of this passage is the final sentence. Jesus lived, died, and lives again - so HE can be our Master, setting us free from the petty stuff we get all wigged out about in this lifetime. What are some of the petty things you have chosen to wig out about just in the past week? Don't tell me there wasn't even one thing, because I bet that even if you didn't voice it, something someone did, said, put up on a billboard, or advertised on social media rubbed you the wrong way. God is the one we are answerable to - so when something or someone sets you on edge, take them or the subject of your 'rub' to Jesus. He will take care of it - but don't be surprised if he begins to work on your heart first! It isn't that he is trying to change your beliefs (he may be, but not always), but rather he is attempting to help you see the individuals he loved enough to die for. 

While accountability amongst our brethren (those who are serving Christ Jesus) is quite important, we are ultimately accountable to God above all others. He is the one to clarify our beliefs, align our dogma with his Word, and create solid values in place of wishy-washy character. Unfortunately, as hard as we may try, we cannot do this for one another. We can set good examples, but we cannot change a man's character. We can live out our beliefs, but we cannot fill the empty spirit of a man. These areas belong to God. We can spend lots of time and energy arguing our point with each other, or we can agree to take all matters to Christ, asking for his Spirit and the Word of God to help us in our relationships with one another. I choose the latter. How about you? Just askin....


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,